Why learn about the moons of Jupiter?
Two reasons-- the Moons of Jupiter are important, and they are fascinating.
- They orbit Jupiter, not the Earth, so by discovering them, Galileo disproved the ancient theory that everything in the universe revolves around the Earth. This may be the single most important discovery in the history of science.
- Io, the closest of Jupiter’s moons is the most volcanic body is the solar system.
- Europa, the second closest moon, probably has a liquid water interior, and may be a suitable habitat for microbial life.
- Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system, and is larger than the planet Mercury.
- Callisto has the largest crater in the solar system.
- It allows you to review basic concepts about the solar system without seeming repetitive to the students.
- By focusing on planetary geology, it integrates astronomy and geology. (It would be great if more science projects did this).
- It has rich connections to history and mythology.
- The culminating project is fantastic.
I hope I have convinced you that this is one of the best science projects you can do! The basic unit is modified from
an excellent GEMS unit.
So why is this one of my favorite science projects?
I changed the culminating activity. Instead of having the students create table-top models of their “Settlements,” they create inflatable models that are big enough for twenty kids to fit inside.
They make the models using duct tape, plastic, and fans. If you want to learn more
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